Look at all these rumours – and more in today’s news round-up with Cheta Nwanze

by Cheta Nwanze



To be honest, we must take a long, hard, look at ourselves. The virus which afflicts our journos, is the same virus that afflicts our policemen which makes them run away from criminals, and attempt to prevent peaceful protesters from exercising their Constitutional rights on account of a group of girls who have been missing for a month now. 

Timex Social Club was a music group formed in California in 1982. The group broke up after five years. Their biggest hit, Rumours, had a rather interesting line, “I think I’ll write my congressman and tell him to pass a bill”. If they were in the Nigeria of 2014, meeting a legislator will not be possible. You see, our legislators are tin-gods who do not even have active legislative offices that they visit in their legislative areas of operations. However, certain governors are to an extent approachable. One of such governors is Lagos fila, Tunde Fash. Who recently moaned about rumours and their effects. I’ll direct him to the next line in aforementioned song: “For the next time they catch somebody startin’ rumors, shoot to kill…

In all honesty, shooting, to kill, rumour mongers in Nigeria, may lead to a level of carnage not seen on the planet in 70 years. Misinformation, however, can take on various forms, and the advent of social media makes it a lot easier to spread false info. When a newspaper fails to do proper fact checking, such as this goof by our dear Vanguard, then you must forgive people who simply transmit whatever lands in their smartphones. The “smart” in smartphone does not have to apply to the user ai? Try this article, from December 2013, for size…

To be honest, we must take a long, hard, look at ourselves. The virus which afflicts our journos, is the same virus that afflicts our policemen which makes them run away from criminals, and attempt to prevent peaceful protesters from exercising their Constitutional rights on account of a group of girls who have been missing for a month now. It’s the very same affliction which will cause quacks to be at your hospital bedside in a few years. We are not training people right, and aren’t training enough. It is an emergency, it needs to be handled ASAP, and no, this is not a rumour.

Bits and Bobs
The grass in the Polytechnics, tired of their ten month vacation, have appealed to the elephants to sheath their trunks The Brits will help us find the Chibok babes. But only if we ask, says Brit blazer, David Cameron, over a cup of tea. Meanwhile in #LabaranMaku’s home state, the men-in-black clamped some of their own of the female variety. They dared to abandon the road blocks and wail about the Chibok babes. In other news, the one and only Jagaban has been taking some lessons in roasting pork. He passed in flying colours. Finally, another gem from Chinedu Ozordi: In Oshodi, after 2 kids, Imaobong decided to switch off the sex until Nicholas, 28, pays her bride price. Life threatening idea.

Right of Reply

Seun Akioye wrote,
I think its uncharitable maybe irresponsible of you to describe children born between 2008 and now as potential boko haram members. Am not sure you have any children, irresponsible bigots like you won’t. You are absolutely ridiculous to say the least to have made that comparison and it shows the emptiness and the foolishness in your head. Thunder fire your mouth for that nonsense, and I pray when you eventually have ur children, wherever they are, may they become members of all known crazy bloodsucking groups. Say amen to that and don’t ever send your rubbish to me again. Idiot.

Chxta responds,

Dear Seun,

I’ve been accused of being an idiot before, so nothing new there. I’ve been accused of being irresponsible before, so nothing new there. I have also been accused of being ridiculous. So, again, nothing new there. But being a bigot? Now that’s a new feather to the cap. I’ll ass it to my resume.

But let’s for one second, stop to actually think:
First, I did not say “potential Boko Haram members”, I said “potential Boko Haram (and other insurgent group) members”. That distinction is important. Boko Haram is not the only insurgent group in Nigeria, it’s merely the most notorious at this moment. Others include Ombatse, Fulani Herdsman, MEND, De Bam, Ice Boyz. Some other groups which have taken position against the Nigerian state, but have not taken up arms against the Nigerian state yet include MASSOB, OPC, Aikay.

These groups exist. These groups draw their members from somewhere. They draw their members from the millions of unemployed young Nigerians. One of Boko Haram’s big draw prior to the insurgency was that they provided jobs to the people who became their members. The devil is in the detail.

The Nigerian state, in the last six years, has officially generated less than two million jobs. Nigeria, in the last six years, has given birth to 30.4 million children. What is worse is that Nigeria is not, at the moment and in practice, committed to educating these children. Our polytechnics have been closed for 10 months. Only 95,000 people wrote the common entrance this year. The number of potential common entrance candidates is 10.9 million. The questions become, what has happened to the remaining 9.95 million potential candidates? Do we have the schools to absorb them?

Let’s get real and stop being emotional.

Many thanks.

Aziza Uko wrote,

Again, you miss my point because you think it is about government bashing.

I have never been a government critic in my life. When Obasanjo was president, I wasn’t a government critic. When Yar’Adua was president, I wasn’t a government critic. I am not going to be pressured into becoming what I am not because I come from the South-South and the President is from the South-South. When Jonathan leaves Aso Rock, I will still not become a government critic. So, let’s get that out of the way.

In 2011, I voted for a PDP president and a ACN governor because I believed that at that moment in the country’s history the best possible outcome for the elections was for Jonathan to win and for Fashola to win in Lagos (and for Akpabio to win in my home state). I am not a registered member of any political party and have never joined any political campaign and I do not see myself becoming one soon. I have no interest in seeing any elected official fail at their work. Back to the major question?

If we don’t know who is missing, how do we know when and if they are recovered? All it takes for anyone to set up a scam now is to organise some photos of some young girls in Borno and say, ”those are the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram”. In a society with ignorance and poverty, what does it take to gather some people in a place, take photos and send them to the press with photo descriptions that say those are the girls who escaped or were kidnapped?

Let us ask the right questions from the right people and stop giving some people a pass because we belong to the same political party.

The names and photos of these girls should be made available and the exact number of our missing citizens be made known so that if and when we rescue them we know the job has been done. There are too many hazy parts of this story and it is making me uncomfortable and giving room for people to dismiss this unfortunate incident as the creation of politicians.

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